Daylight Savings Time and “Cyberloafing”

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New research suggests that people “cyberloaf” (i.e. websurf instead of working) more when they are tired. Some people may find this surprising. (We do not.) If nothing else, this is another argument against Daylight Savings Time. As the BPS Research Digest explains:

The investigators recognised an event that affects everyone’s sleep: when the clocks go forward for Daylight Saving Time. Prior evidence suggests we lose on average 40 minutes of sleep per night following the switch, as our body rhythms struggle to adjust. (Exploiting a fixed phenomena is an example of a quasi-experiment; another would be the hurricane that occurred within this study on emotional hangovers.) The researchers used data from 203 metropolitan areas in the USA, weighted by area size, across 2004-2009. They found that Entertainment-related searches on the Monday after DST were 3.1% more prevalent than the previous Monday, and 6.4% than the subsequent Monday.

The research adds on to an existing body of work on willpower as a limited resource, which we’ve blogged about before.

Open question: does reading Freakonomics at work count as cyberloafing?  

We’ll keep an eye out for a traffic increase on Monday.

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  1. Nyayapati Gautam says:

    I have never understood why you Americans indulge in it. My usual explanations for American actions that I don’t know much about or can’t really understand – Problems of Plenty/Arrogance of the Sole Superpower etc – do not work here.

    So what exactly is the reason, especially when people seem to think it is not a very bright idea in the first place….

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    • Steve O says:

      I’ve always understood that it’s inertia. It was created back when daylight mattered in day-to-day business (especially farming), and no one’s been able to put an end to it yet. Here in Indiana, where we’re torn between wanting to be on NYC time or Chicago time, we held out and had both for years (by not having Daylight Savings Time), but we finally succumbed a couple years ago like 48 of the other states.

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      • James says:

        Daylight does still matter to a lot of us.

        As for why it was created, it’s because some people thought the clock was more important than daylight. They thought it easier to set the clocks ahead an hour so they could work the same clock hours, than to adjust working times according to the sun. Thus they disrupt everyone’s biorhythms, and pay the cost in lost productivity.

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  2. Michael says:

    The obvious solution is to stay on daylight savings time all year round. Why is this the obvious solution? Because I like having some sunlight when I leave the office at 5. Also, it makes the post-work golf season longer.

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  3. Steve O says:

    I got less than 4 hours of sleep last night because I couldn’t fall asleep. Now I’m commenting on this blog instead of working…

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  4. bob says:

    I don’t bother changing my clocks twice a year but I’m always a half hour late in the summer and a half hour early in the winter.

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  5. Julie Pereira says:

    We at eXelate found an 8.5% increase in entertainment searches on this Monday versus last Monday, the 5th! http://exelate.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/daylight-savings-time-a-new-advertising-opportunity/

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  6. TGButz says:

    Slightly off-topic, but the proper term is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time. For more information, refer to the article on http://time.gov.

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  7. achilles3 says:

    i’m doing it and it’s a tuesday at 6:30 pm on my way out that door:-)

    btw not tired

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